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Saleshando yet to find a constituency

CHAKALISA DUBE
Dumelang Saleshando PIC: KEOAGILE BONANG
FRANCISTOWN: Botswana Congress Party (BCP) might be forced to look for another constituency to field its president Dumelang Saleshando for the 2019 general elections.

This comes after party members in Francistown West anonymously shunned the idea by the party to exchange the constituency with the Botswana Movement for Democracy (BMD) in an internal party meeting on Wednesday night. The BCP and BMD are partners in the Umbrella for Democratic Change (UDC).

The BCP executive recently announced plans to trade with BMD the Francistown West constituency for Maun West.

The BCP had hoped to field Saleshando in Maun West in the 2019 general elections. During the internal meeting, party leaders in the Francistown region also strongly opposed the idea by the BCP executive.

The BCP members in Francistown West met with some members of the party executive here to discuss the proposal to give the BMD Francistown West constituency in exchange of Maun West.

The party vice president, Dr Kesitegile Gobotswang led the BCP executive.

During the meeting, which was reportedly almost heated, the party members made it clear that according to them giving Francistown West to BMD is not a wise move. All candidates for the BCP primaries in Francistown West were part of the meeting.

“The BMD want to give the BPP the constituency and the general feeling amongst party members is that the two parties do not have structures in the north and as such they cannot be given the constituency,” an inside source told Mmegi yesterday.

“Some of the candidates also maintained that it will not be ideal for the party to

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trade the constituency while they are already psyched up to contest the primaries.

They added that giving away the constituency against the will of the general membership (in the constituency) can destabilise the Francistown West structures,” added the source.

Longtime BCP activist, Vain Mamela who was the party candidate in Francistown South at the last general elections, Maria Kusasa and Chimbise Chimbise have already submitted names to contest the Francistown West parliamentary primaries.

Indications are that the meeting resolved that the issue be taken to the central committee which will make a final determination as to whether the party trade Francistown West with the BMD or not.

The BCP Francistown region chairperson, Dickson Dingalo yesterday confirmed the Wednesday meeting led by Gobotswang. “What I can confirm is that the members have strongly opposed the proposal to give the BMD the constituency. The matter has been taken to the central committee to make a decision,” he said. 

Initially, the BCP had proposed that it be given Maun West constituency in exchange of Nata-Gweta.

The BMD declined the offer. The BMD has stated that it intends to give Francistown West to the BPP which is part of the UDC coalition.

Meanwhile, the BMD has given the BCP until the end of April to have decided on the constituency allocation matter.

The party has warned that it will proceed with its countrywide primaries if the BCP does not make a decision on time.



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